This morning, while the Head Gardener continued her autumn clearances, I followed in her wake, collecting, chopping, and composting clippings. The exercise was most delightful when focussed on the Pond Bed, savouring the liquorice flavour released from the statuesque bronze fennel and listening to the tinkling trickle of the water feature. Small birds are beginning to tweet again; pigeons continually exchange melodic love-notes; a biplane droned overhead. Tramping over crunching gravel on the back drive was less harmonious.
The bronze fennel is a very prolific self-seeder, so after lunch I cut down and composted much more of it. The pelargoniums in the second picture are in a hanging basket, which is why they stand above the much taller plant. The bed still contains
other pelargoniums, dahlias, and chrysanthemums.
Nearby, in the Wisteria Bed, these pink roses are blooming again.
Keeping with the pink, we have fuchsias Display and Garden News.
Super Elfin, red, Penny Lane, white roses, and clematis Dr Ruppel still scale the Gothic arch.
Fortunately these everlasting sweet peas are almost finished for this year, because many of the stems were bound to the fennel I removed from the Weeping Birch Bed.
More dahlias thrive in the New Bed.
It is now the larger Cabbage White butterflies that have taken the place of the Small Whites on the verbena bonariensis.
Paul Clarke dropped in for a pleasant chat and to return borrowed books while driving a sleeping Margery back from Bournemouth this afternoon.
Later, we took a drive into the forest, where Jackie visited Hockey’s Farm Shop, while
I photographed an old farm cart that isn’t going anywhere.
The stream at Ogdens North is now dry enough for me to step across quite easily. The pony in the last two of these pictures was so keen to make my acquaintance that I had to back away sharply to photograph the persistent creature which abandoned my face for he sparse grass underfoot.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty liver and bacon casserole; al dente carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; with tender runner beans. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Calvet Prestige Bordeaux 2018.
Early this morning Jackie found a robin flapping about in the utility room. She opened the window for him. Was it Nugget? Later she conversed in the garden with a juvenile.
While the Head Gardener completed the strengthening the compost bin that I had begun a few days ago, I carried out some dead heading before and after lunch.
Bees continued to work over the verbena bonariensis and other plants such as calendula.
Autumn crocuses are now standing proud.
In the Rose Garden Mum in a Million has reached maturity; Flower Power is as strong as ever; and Aloha greets us again;
and the Kent carpet is a wrap.
Casting a shadow was sunbathing Geranium Rozanne,
while the same sun in the early evening backlit the last hollyhock we passed on the way to taking our drinks in the rose garden.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent liver and bacon casserole; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy cauliflower and broccoli; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.
The moon was out of bed this morning when Jackie took her camera into the garden, yet cloud cover soon rolled in. She crouched low to offer the Cobaea Scandens cup to the lingering orb. Fennel seeds, sweet pea pods, and mahonia completed the collection of silhouettes. The Assistant Photographer finished with pastel shades of verbena bonariensis against New Zealand flax.
This afternoon I cut the grass for which the expression ‘mowed the lawn’ would be a little pretentious. It seemed somewhat ambitious to hand-clip the edges so I will live to fight them another day.
The hanging basket in the top centre of the first picture contains a bright lime-green heuchera.
For a little light relief I transported Jackie’s clippings from her weeding and taking cuttings to the compost bin and bagged up some of the woody material.
Beside her the Dragon Bed’s Polish Spirit clematis and hanging baskets petunias display vibrant colour.
Bees, like this one in geranium Roxanne, went about their business undisturbed.
This variety of rudbeckia has prove quite prolific this year, whereas several others have failed.
Recents storms virtually stripped this pink climbing rose of its leaves, yet buds keep on coming,
as do those of Flower Power, Lady Emma Hamilton,
and Crown Princess Margareta, who encourages the coexistence of different generations.
The Weeping Birch Bed, like most of the others, still contains a variety of colourful blooms.
There aren’t many without a dahlia or two.
Preferring the ebb and flow and artistry of Test matches, I am not fan of T20 cricket, but, as I watched England’s innings against Australia on TV this afternoon I began to wonder whether my apathy might be a teeny bit prejudiced.
This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.
We spent the hot summer’s cloudless day gardening; well, Jackie spent the day at it while I chipped in intermittently.
Jackie took advantage of what shade she could.
In addition to dead bloom decapitation and carting clippings to compost bins I produced some photographs.
The blooms and garden views in this gallery can be identified and enlarged in the usual manner.
The same applies to these images of bees clambering on verbena bonariensis and delving into a hosta; and to the comma butterfly.
In the first picture above Jackie is conversing with the moulting Nugget, looking every inch the butterball that Jill Weatherholt dubbed him on his last appearance. Our concern at the scraggy condition of our little avian familiar has diminished now the we have learned he is undergoing a normal summer process. The last, smallest, of these images is “Where’s Nugget?” (92). Bigification may be required.
This evening we dined on the Culinary Queen’s wholesome watercress soup with bread and butter, followed by tempura prawns and fresh salad, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I opened another bottle of the Rioja and consumed some of it.
Today, still cool, featured intermittent sunshine while cotton clouds pierced by cerulean patches sailed sedately overhead.
We carried out the usual garden maintenance including watering, planting, pruning, and dead-heading.
Jackie smiled when she first spied that I had come out to join her, but she didn’t see the camera hanging round my neck. I have taken to wearing it in order not to miss such photographic opportunities.
Here we have the peach rose, a couple of hemerocallis, sweet peas, white dahlias, sidalcea, yucca, and fuchsia Shrimp Cocktail. As usual each individual image is labelled in the gallery which can be viewed full size by clicking the box underneath it. Further enlargement is possible by additional clicks.
Mauve gladioli stand beneath the clematis covering the Agriframes Arch.
Shropshire Lad and linaria purpurea checked themselves out in the mirror placed to extend the Rose Garden views.
Here Jackie carried out pruning, the results of which I would clear up later.
The marguerites alongside the hydrangea in the corner of the front garden will unfortunately need to be cut down soon because they obscure the view of the Chauffeuse when driving out.
Bees enjoyed flitting from one verbena bonariensis to another.
We now have more robins than we can identify. This is not Nugget.
It was a good gardening day.
For a while now, it has not been pleasant enough for us to enjoy our evening drinks in the Rose Garden. This changed today.
From my seat in the north east corner I could see the hemerocallis in the Cryptomeria Bed and the lilies above Mamma Mia catching the evening sun.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty lamb curry; savoury rice; salt and pepper prawns; and vegetable samosas. I also enjoyed the chilli bhaji. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Corte Aurelia Squinzano Riserva 2015.
Yesterday evening, through the window beside my desk, Jackie photographed glistening pearls strung out by a furry spider.
For reasons which will become particularly apparent from my post “The Foam Rubber Mattress”, patient readers who may have notice an hiatus in the drafting of my autobiography, may be pleased to know that I picked it up again this afternoon. Hoping to have lifted my block I have taken material from that post and from “Chocolate Surprise Pudding”
Jackie carried out more planting, ably hindered by Nugget.
This afternoon we experienced more showers than sunshine as we drove to The Wheel Inn to book a table for lunch to celebrate Mum’s 97th birthday tomorrow.
The rain really set in as we continued into the forest, but desisted just as we had decided to return home. We stayed on at Brockenhurst where
pair of donkeys trotted alongside the school buses transporting youngsters home from Brockenhurst College
and idled past our windscreen.
and cattle happily grazed among huge oaks just outside the village.
Pied wagtails are to ponies as robins are to gardeners. We watched one nipping around nearby hooves and muzzles.
Back at home, Jackie took her camera into the garden.
She is particularly pleased with this clematis, shrivelled and wizened when we arrived here five years ago.
Another great survivor is the Phoenix grass we tried to kill, now rising triumphantly from Elizabeth’s Bed.
The Dragon Bed, seen from the Gazebo, was a jungle five years ago.
Sculptural grasses come into their own at this time of the year. These are in the Palm Bed.
The helianthuses Lemon Queen sit before a curtain of Virginia creeper.
She cannot remember the name of this gorgeous fuchsia.
Other favourites are osteospermum;
the waving verbena bonariensis
and the peripatetic cosmoses mingling with them.
This evening we dined on roast chicken with sage and onion stuffing; roast potatoes, including sweet ones; crisp Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots and cauliflower with which I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.
CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH MAY BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. THESE CAN BE FURTHER ENLARGED WITH A CLICK OR TWO.
Jackie drove me over to Rob and Helen’s home in Lordshill, a suburb of Southampton where we spent a very enjoyable day.
Apparently thirty years or so ago I gave Rob a rusty old sewing machine which had been left in the garden shed in Lindum House in Newark. I have no memory of this, but the fact that he has kept it all this time has now borne fruit.
He has cleaned and refurbished the base of the Bradbury of Oldham industrial artefact which has a still working treadle. Fixed to its top he has placed a solid sheet of cedar wood which was once a headboard. This has been sanded and oiled, thus releasing the beauty of the glowing grain.
On a nearby wall of this covered outside seating area hangs a splendid antique French water dispenser.
We enjoyed a superb three course lunch consisting of choice carrot and coriander soup by Helen; a most flavoursome fish pie by Rob; and a luscious lemon meringue pie by Helen. Rob and I enjoyed an Aldi claret.
Helen’s sister Marion and her husband John dropped in for a visit after lunch.
On 27th September last year, Helen had taken a batch of splendid photographs of our garden. She had sent me a set, but I was unable to download them. This afternoon we viewed them on Rob’s computer and he loaded them onto a memory stick which I brought home with me. Here is a selection, the individual titles of which appear on the gallery. Autumn leaves are in evidence. Perhaps in another fortnight we will have some more. Jackie was ambivalent to see the pictures of the dahlia Bishop of Llandaff which has since been devoured by a vole.
Later this evening I found room for a ham sandwich followed by Elizabeth’s special Firs Mess of meringues topped, on this occasion, with raspberries and ginger ice cream. Sparkling water was my accompaniment.
CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN THE GROUP TO ACCESS THE GALLERY, ANY MEMBER OF WHICH MAY BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CLICKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. FURTHER ENLARGEMENT MAY BE OBTAINED WITH A CLICK OR TWO
Jackie spent much of the day on giving the Rose Garden a thorough Autumn Clean. This involved extensive weeding, clearing all the paths, sweeping, pruning, thinning out, and dead heading. All the refuse was then carried to the Orange Bags for eventual transmission to the dump. Reducing the heucheras produced numerous plants for transplanting elsewhere. I rendered minimal assistance. The background paths and soil in these photographs is as worthy of perusal as the flowers.
Naturally, we took this evening’s pre-prandial potations in this space where, earlier, I had not noticed how the Ace Reclaim arch bled for Crown Princess Margareta.
This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid pork paprika; super savoury rice; al dente mange touts; and sautéed peppers, onions and mushrooms. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I consumed more of the Fleurie.